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Native Forest Logging

Mr HIBBINS (Prahran) In November 2016 members of the Forestry Industry Taskforce wrote to the Premier stating a desire to work with the Premier and the government. However, the Premier, I am led to believe, never responded. Isn’t it true that the taskforce did reach consensus and did want to continue work but has stopped because the Premier has put protecting our native forests from logging in the political too-hard basket?

Mr ANDREWS (Mulgrave—Premier): See, this is why the member for Warrandyte should hang around. He should behave so he can be here for the whole of question time, with oneliners like that. It is a shame you are not usually here at this time. I want to thank the member for  Prahran for his question, and I do not accept for a moment his contention—

Mr ANDREWS: It was a good line—that the government has abandoned any such thing. As I indicated to the member for Prahran on Friday during, I think, a lengthy and I hope informative session at the Public Accounts and Estimates Committee hearing on this very issue, the process he is referring to was a process based on achieving consensus between environmental NGOs, relevant unions and the forestry industry. And despite the best efforts of all of those—I make no criticism or judgement about any of the people who were involved in that process, but despite the best efforts of government, the best efforts of those three parties and all of those who provided support and assistance and guidance and facilitation—no such consensus could be achieved. On that basis—
A member interjected.


Mr ANDREWS: Well, they did get very, very close actually. They did—a lot closer than you did to getting on the front bench. They were very, very, very, very close, but sadly they could not deliver that consensus.


Mr HIBBINS (Prahran): In November 2016 members of the Forestry Industry Taskforce wrote to the Premier stating a desire to work with the Premier and the government. However, the Premier, I am led to believe, never responded. Isn’t it true that the taskforce did reach consensus and did want to continue work but has stopped because the Premier has put protecting our native forests from logging in the political too-hard basket?


Mr ANDREWS (Mulgrave—Premier): The answer to the supplementary question is no.
And I think I dealt with this comprehensively, but I am happy again to confirm the answer is no, which is exactly the answer I gave to an identical question at the Public Accounts and Estimates Committee last Friday. A consensus-based process was set up. No consensus could be reached. I am disappointed by that. I expect all three parties in the room are disappointed by that. The member for Prahran is disappointed by that, but that is what happens when you try and seek a consensus and you do not achieve one—then you have not achieved one. And you cannot simply by saying it out loud lots of times or trying to find someone to blame suddenly create a consensus if there is not one. That is a disappointing thing.

Mr ANDREWS: Well, then now we are to the point of your question. You should perhaps have asked that straight up. In your view it is on me. I suspect it is not the only issue you think is on me. Pretty much all issues would be on me according to you, I would think.

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